There is another old but smaller monastery too, near Tathev, in those mountains, hidden somewhere. It was for nuns. In Armenia, usually the monasteries for women were built not far from the monasteries for men. I don't know why, frankly speaking.
I've heard of that and just assumed it was perhaps for protection during times of invasion or other danger. Could that be it?
Now the state has built a long cable railway (or rope-way, I don't know which is more correct) in Tathev, the longest in the world, they say. They want to attract tourists to those mountain places and because of this they will also renovate the old buildings of the monastery of Tathev. The last thing is good, of course. But the father monk and those few deacons with him that serve in the monastery are sad for making the monastery an attraction place for tourists.http://www.aysor.am/en/news/2010/10/12/tatev/
I was sorry to hear about the cable tramway (I think that's what it's called, but I'm not sure.) A monastery should be an isolated place and not a place for tourists. Hopefully those who come will come with the spirit of pilgrimage, not tourism.
I have another question: You mentioned that there is a monk and a few deacons there. Is there a movement now to reinhabit the old monasteries? I know they have been restoring some of the historic monasteries and that there seems to be a renewal of monasticism in Armenia. How many of the ancient monasteries are again being inhabited by monks?